|Updated: 11/04/2008 9:35 am
||Published: 11/03/2008 11:00 pm
Officials at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway already have some ideas on how to improve the emergency response in the wake of the deadly shooting a week ago. Students Chavares Block and Ryan Henderson died in the attack. Leaders of the school shared their ideas as they fielded questions from concerned parents at a forum Monday evening.
The parents were primarily concerned about the length of time it took to alert students about what happened and that's something UCA officials aim to fix. One by one, parents voiced their concerns about why they didn't know sooner and how the four suspects got on campus in the first place.
Those with the university say the campus is open so anyone can come or go, but they doubled patrols in the wake of the attack. And the school established its new Emergency Notification System Committee to find a way to alert people quickly in case of a disaster or other emergency. The UCA police chief says officials are being methodical in trying to find the system that works best.
The university activated its alert express system for the first time after the October 26th shooting. They sent e-mails and phone calls alerting students to stay inside away from danger. But some didn't hear about what happened until an hour or more after the incident.
Students Services Vice President Ronnie Williams says the committee is looking a three-pronged approach; campus sirens, text alerts and e-mails, since no system works perfectly on its own. But the committee is taking parents' suggestions into consideration too.
Monday night, parents suggest that those with the school should do phone alert drills if they plan to continue using a phone call system and that they work more closely with the media in emergencies like this to get the word out. The committee will report back to UCA on November 22nd.
The four suspects in the deadly shootings are in the Faulkner County Jail without bond. They face several charges including two counts of capital murder and numerous other felonies. All four have pleaded not guilty.